God's People Are Comforted
1Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfarea is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins.
3A voice cries:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
5And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
6A voice says, "Cry!"
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
surely the people is grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand for ever.
9Get you up to a high mountain,
O Zion, herald of good tidings;b
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,c
lift it up, fear not;
say to the cities of Judah,
"Behold your God!"
10Behold, the Lord God comes with might,
and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.
11He will feed his flock like a shepherd,
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
12Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
13Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,
or as his counselor has instructed him?
14Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
and who taught him the path of justice,
and taught him knowledge,
and showed him the way of understanding?
15Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
16Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
17All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
18To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?
19The idol! a workman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,
and casts for it silver chains.
20He who is impoverishedd chooses for an offering
wood that will not rot;
he seeks out a skilful craftsman
to set up an image that will not move.
21Have you not known? Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;
23who brings princes to nought,
and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
24Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
25To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
27Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
"My way is hid from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God"?
28Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable.
29He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.